Okay, that’s MR. Smarty-Pants to you


Last year, after one of this area’s odd and paralyzing snowstorms, I watched a very dumb guy in a very fancy SUV suddenly whip around the traffic in front of him and barrel at breakneck speed up an icy hill. The icy hill came out the victor, as icy hills are known to do.

Within seconds, the full-size 4×4, with its control-track, all-wheel drive system, power-adjustable pedals and ABS power brakes was lying nose-down in a 3-foot ditch of snow. The driver climbed out, red-faced and surly, shouting words not often heard in even the most impious R-rated film.

But adding to the piquancy of the moment was the sight of the vehicle’s rear end sticking out into the road. It made it easy to read the bumper sticker on the right rear fender: “My Kid’s An Honor Student!” So maybe the kid was adopted.

When I was in grade school, nobody had yet invented the idea of designing children-praising bumper stickers. If they had, my parents might have slapped stickers on their bumper reading such things as “My Kid’s Got Great Posture!” “Sometimes My Kid Packs His Own Lunch!” “My Kid’s Report Card Wasn’t Great But It Was Sure Better Than The One The Morgan’s Kid Got.” (That one would actually be too long for the rear – and would be continued on the front bumper.)

One of the guys who graduated the eighth grade with me, Lonnie Ferguson, would have qualified for this one: “My Kid Is The First One In His Class To Shave.” Of course, that would only have been true if you didn’t count Carla Robinson.

The point is that parents who truly have bright kids should be justifiably proud. After all, a splendid acorn reflects nicely on the originating oak tree.

A few years ago, you may recall, a woman in Denver admitted that she faked the records of her 6-year old boy’s IQ test – one that recorded his score at 298, the highest ever. To give you an idea of how exaggerated that score was, take the actual I.Q. of a former child prodigy from Korea named Kim Ung Yong. His IQ was recorded at 210, making him smart as a whip. No accurate record of a whip’s I.Q. has actually been documented, however.

Much has been made recently of Barack Obama’s intelligence, with his IQ estimated to be between 130 and 148. That’s not bad, especially when compared with the reported IQs of former presidents such as Millard Fillmore (104) and Andrew Johnson (90).

John Quincy Adams might have been the brightest president. He was estimated to have clocked in at 175. Leonardo Da Vinci is believed to have had an IQ of 220, while Sir Isaac Newton was a comparative dullard at a mere 190.

And 160 isn’t a bad number. It’s the reputed IQ for Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Ben Franklin, Stephen Hawking and Thomas Jefferson. Oh, and also a guy named Einstein. Yeah, THAT Einstein.

A few years ago, I began to wonder about my own IQ score. I realized that I didn’t even know what it was. I remembered taking some test in school, but I never learned the results. It worried me, because if I was smart, why had I never wondered about my IQ score before?

I got on the phone and called my mom.

Me: “Mom, when I was a kid, did you ever receive any information about my IQ score?”

Mom: “I don’t recall exactly. But if it was really high, I would have remembered.”

Me: “Do you think you might have it some of your old papers there at the house?”

Mom: “Maybe. But let me tell you something, Mike.”

Me: “Pat.”

Mom: “Right. Pat. Let me tell you something. Your IQ score never mattered to me. And whether it was high or low, I would not have loved you less.”

Me: “Thanks, Mom. But do you have the actual score lying around anywhere?”

Mom: “Let me look. I’ll call you back.”

An hour later, she called.

Mom: “I found it. And it’s signed by your teacher, Mr. Anderson.”

Me: “Great! What’s the score?”

Mom: “Mr. Anderson verified it was 135.”

Me: “Really? That’s great, mom. Thanks.”

I hung up feeling pretty darn good. Then I remembered. Mr. Anderson was my bowling instructor.

Pat Cashman is a writer, actor and public speaker. He can be reached at pat@patcashman.com

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